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Bluebook Rules: Recent Updates

Bluebook Evolution

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Points to Remember

If you are using any version of the Bluebook, besides the 20th Edition, then be sure to check the Bluebook website and the reference chart for changes/updates to citation formats.

The 21st Edition Bluebook

Whenever the Bluebook is updated, the editors correct any errors that were found in previous editions and also update citation formats as it becomes necessary over time. The 21st Edition Bluebook contains many of these updates. This LibGuide page gives a brief overview of some of the updates to the 21st Edition; but for a comprehensive look at all Bluebook 21stEdition updates see the Bluebook website


Bluebook Changes Chart

Inside of (Preface at page VII) each 21st Edition Bluebook, readers will find an overview that describes some of the major changes in the new edition. This chart is overviews those changes and is obtained from a compiled list of changes created by the editors of the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal.

Rule Change
1.4 Rule 1.4 no longer dictates and order of authorities within a signal. Instead, authorities should be ordered in a more logical manner, with more authoritative sources preceding less authoritative ones.
1.5(b) Revised to clarify the placement of "hereinafter" and "last visited" parentheticals in citations to internet sources.
3.3(d) Added to illustrate citations to flush language and examples, such as in Treasury Regulations.
9(a) Revised to clarify the use of first names for judges.
10.6.2 Added to bring The Bluebook into conformity with current U.S. Supreme Court practice regarding citations to stay or bail applications ruled on by a single Justice.
10.8.1(a) Provides clearer guidance on citing to case docket numbers.
12.3 Changed to require citation to the official federal code "if available," rather than "whenever possible." This change is intended to facilitate citation to unofficial codes in online databases.
12.3.2 No longer requires a date in citations to the federal code, whether official or unofficial.
12.5(b) For state sources of law, 12.5(b) now allows citation to online sources for official state and municipal statutes and ordinances whenever available online, rather than when only available online.
17.2.2 Citation formats for dissertations and theses were updated.
18 Updated throughout to provide a consistent format for indicating a time marker in an audio or video recording.
18.8 Added to provide guidance on citing photographs and illustrations.
21 Updated to reflect the growing availability of online sources for international law.
Table T1 Revised to reflect the most current titles for the various statutory compilations, session laws, and administrative compilations and registers.
Table T2 Removed from the print version and is available exclusively online at, free of charge. Also, eleven jurisdictions in Table T2 have been comprehensively updated and one new jurisdiction has been added.
Table T6 Abbreviations for case names in citations, abbreviations for institutional authors in citations, and abbreviations for periodical titles in citations have been combined into table T6.
Table T13 Table T13.1 from the Twentieth Edition, containing abbreviations for common institutional names, has become Table T13.

State Specific Changes

Many states also make changes to their citation rules with each new edition of the Bluebook. These changes usually occur in Table T1 and are included in the new 21st Edition. If you do not have access to a 21st Edition Bluebook then be sure to check this link for state-specific changes.